140 people were killed when a suicide bomber hit a crowded Baghdad shopping area. The blast hit the Karada district of Baghdad shortly after midnight, when the area was packed with locals who’d gone out after breaking their Ramadan fast.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack and said they had deliberately targeted Shiite Muslims. Mohammed Al-Rubaiy, from Baghdad governate’s security committee, told NBC News that 167 people were killed and 185 were injured. Other reports put the death toll at around 120; conflicting casualty counts are common in the immediate aftermath of the attack. Reportedly, 25 children died in the attack. Karim Sami, a 35-year-old street vendor, told the AP,
“It was like an earthquake. I wrapped up my goods and was heading home when I saw a fire ball with a thunderous bombing. I was so scared to go back and started to make phone calls to my friends, but none answered.“
This is the deadliest attack in the capital this year and comes after Iraqi forces managed recapture the city of Fallujah from ISIS last month. The United Nations estimates that 2,735 civilians have been killed in Iraq in the first six months of this year.
Jan Kubis, the U.N. envoy for Iraq, said the attack was a “heinous” attempt by ISIS to avenge losses on the battlefield. Kubis said in a statement,
“This is a cowardly and heinous act of unparalleled proportions, to target peaceful civilians in the closing days of the holy month of Ramadan. This shows Daesh’s wanton intentions to kill, maim and demoralize.“
Hours after the bombing, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi — who had ordered the offensive on Fallujah — visited the site of the blast. Video footage uploaded to social media showed an angry crowd shouting at his convoy and pelting it with stones.
(via NBC News)